Recapping the Crohn's & Colitis Congress®
Published: March 2, 2021
In January, the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) convened its annual Crohn’s & Colitis Congress®, the premier meeting in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Due to COVID-19, this year’s meeting went virtual and brought together more people than ever – more than 1,400 IBD health professionals and researchers came together from over 35 countries to discuss the latest research about Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Over the course of four days, attendees were able to watch sessions on a variety of topics, including challenges and new approaches to managing IBD in the COVID-19 era, the future of IBD treatments, holistic view of IBD, health literacy, diet and nutrition, mental health, and more. Additionally, participants could view abstract presentations and case-based panel sessions based on their level of IBD experience.
Below is a recap of some of the latest advancements and findings that were shared during the meeting:
- We’ve seen a lot of new IBD medications enter the market in the past few years, but there are still patients who need new options for treatment of their ongoing symptoms. The good news is, according to information shared at the Congress, there are many new therapies being researched in both existing and new classes of drugs, such as:
- Anti-leukocyte trafficking antibodies, like etrolizumab (anti-β7), anti-MAdCAM Ab, and subcutaneous formulation of vedolizumab
- Anti-interleukin 23 antibodies, such as brazikumab, risankizumab, mirikizumab, and guselkumab
- Sphingosine-1 phosphate receptor modulators (S1P1R), including ozanimod and etrasimod
- Janus kinase inhibitors, like filgotinib and upadacitinib
- Experts shared their consensus at the Congress that IBD patients should receive one of the COVID-19 vaccines to protect themselves from the virus. Additionally, researchers presented evidence that shows that IBD patients are not at greater risk (unless they are on steroids or have other comorbidities) and that kids with IBD who have COVID-19 generally fare well.
- At Congress, researchers from the University of Texas presented findings from their proof-of-concept study (funded by the Foundation) for their wristwatch-like device that monitors sweat for biomarkers that could signal IBD flares.
- Updates were shared on a variety of different diet therapies at Congress, including the Crohn’s disease exclusion diet. While the diet was well tolerated, researchers are still encouraging that diet therapy be combined with medical therapy for best outcomes.
- A new study was presented showing that vedolizumab may help older patients with IBD avoid hospitalizations as compared to those being treated with anti-TNF biologics.
- Researchers shared evidence that smoking (both active and passive exposure) increases the risk of colorectal neoplasia in IBD patients.
In addition, much of this research presented at Congress was also included in our IBD Insider: Patient Updates from the 2021 Crohn’s & Colitis Congress®. Read more about this program here.
The Crohn’s & Colitis Congress® will take place January 20-22, 2022 in Las Vegas. We can’t wait to see what new discoveries are made between now and then to help us improve patient care, develop better treatments, and bring us closer to IBD cures.
Rebecca Kaplan is the Associate Director, Marketing & Communications for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation and the caregiver of a Crohn's disease patient.